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  Oracle Database Tips by Donald Burleson

Utilize Crisis Management

The employer should develop a crisis management  plan and train all managers and employees on how to use the system in handling imminent or currently occurring workplace crises and violence.

It is essential that an executive committee be formed with representatives from all critical departments to assess the work environment, compile, implement and administer the plan. This plan should be a working document that is reviewed, updated, and utilized as a training tool on an ongoing and regular basis. The workplace assessment for the crisis management  plan has several important aspects to be reviewed including:

  • Any current crisis management  plans in place.

  • Trends occurring in the workplace related to disgruntled IT employees, accidents, attendance violations, poor productivity, turnover, terminations, lawsuits, and the displacement of anger, conflict, and violence. Productivity in the workplace following acts of violence can decrease significantly for a period of time due to the missing person who may have been killed or injured, investigations by law enforcement agencies, gossip by employees, the effects of trauma, and damage to work facilities.

  • Management style and its impact on the IT organization.

  • Security arrangements necessary and in working order.

  • Roles and responsibilities of individuals within the various departments.

  • Communication procedures and requirements, internally and externally, including interfaces with law enforcement agencies.

  • Employee assistance program.

  • Training programs.

  • Discipline and firing policies and procedures, as well as others. Also, when screening out potentially violent new hires, specifically state verbally and in writing that all applicants and employees are subject to random drug and alcohol testing.

  • Stressful aspects of the work environment and possible improvements.

  • Abilities and leadership of IT managers.

Events may unfold quickly in firing situations, escalating from anger and conflict into a crisis, and requiring immediate actions to contain the events and protect the welfare of all employees. Crisis management includes proactive plans and policies; including making all necessary security  arrangements. In the event that the employee being terminated becomes violent, the manager must quickly:

  • Identify the specific threat or crisis.

  • Isolate and contain the crisis.

  • Manage and diffuse the crisis.

A crisis management  plan will provide the following benefits regarding the prevention of violence related to employment termination:

  • Coordination among departments and personnel.

  • Early notice of the initial signs of individuals prone to violence. Is the person a loner, working in a vacuum? Does the individual suppress their feelings most of the time then explode occasionally?  Has the person exhibited anger, conflict, or violence before? Is the employee disgruntled? Has the person talked about "fixing" the situation at work? Does the individual take criticism poorly?  Has the person been known to abuse alcohol and drugs? Does the employee talk about the use of weapons in a violent way? Has the person had an unstable record of jobs inside or outside the company?

  • Organized, more effective, and easily accessed policies and procedures.

  • Trained managers.

  • Faster response.

  • Minimized negative impact from the crisis, including the safety of all individuals.

  • Ongoing assessment of the situation with follow up actions.

  • Maintenance of non-interrupted business operations.

The employer must be committed to an effective and efficient crisis management plan in order for it to be and remain viable. There are factors, however, that will weaken this plan and should be attended to by management including:

  • Failure to assign responsibilities within the plan, as well as a central figure with overall responsibility.

  • Managers are not trained properly on the details and operation of the plan.

  • Lack of ongoing information-gathering related to violence in the workplace, especially in regards to employee discipline and termination. This includes national demographics and trends on violence, reasons for violence, and legal requirements of employers.

  • Lack of follow-through on and accountability for the plan.

  • Failure to review, maintain, and test the plan regularly.

  • Lack of a crisis response structure to include all necessary departments.

  • Failure to mitigate identified risks.

  • Inadequate or inefficient communications during crisis response.


80% of all workplace homicides are committed with a firearm.

- National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

The above book excerpt is from:

You're Fired! Firing Computer Professionals

The IT manager Guide for Terminating "With Cause"

ISBN 0-9744486-4-8

Robert Papaj

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